Dear Brothers and Friends,
The following report was presented to SigEp’s National Board of Directors at the end of the 2015–2016 school year and illustrates SigEp’s performance relative to the objectives of the Fraternity’s strategic plan. We are sharing it here to keep you updated on our successes, our progress and our opportunities to support our undergraduate brothers even more in the future.
If you’d like to receive regular updates about how our Fraternity is doing, you can sign up to receive my quarterly update by keeping your email address current at sigep.org/update or by sending address changes to email@example.com.
Brian C. Warren Jr., Virginia ’04
Chief Executive Officer
Since our undergraduates voted to fully adopt the Balanced Man Program (BMP) in 2015, the vast majority of our chapters have worked hard to implement the program’s critical components: equal rights and responsibilities, continuous development, mentorship, living our Ritual and accountability. Our chapter at Tufts was the only chapter to surrender its charter following our bold and progressive step forward. Because our chapter leaders are setting higher standards for recruitment and holding members accountable to those higher standards, some chapters have seen members resign who resisted a more challenging and development-focused experience.
As a result, total membership is down by 810 relative to the previous year, and we’re seeing some additional losses this fall following unfortunate closures at Wisconsin and Case Western. The Headquarters staff is shifting resources to place a greater emphasis on helping chapters recruit with the unique experience we offer, the BMP. Our volunteer services team is in the process of recruiting volunteers who have sales or business development experience to support vice presidents of recruitment and recruitment committees as recruitment stewards. We’re also doubling our new chapter development staff, bringing the number of chapters we’ll start each year from two to four. I’m confident our growth will begin trending upward again in the coming semesters.
Momentum from the BMP legislation has led to an eight-point increase in the metrics we use to measure BMP proficiency. As this continues to improve, so will the value and impact of our experience. Brothers will graduate more prepared for life after college and new members will be guided through a more thoughtful and enriching experience.
The undergraduate leaders of this movement also inspired fellow undergraduates and alumni to financially support the development of a mobile application for the BMP. The BMP App will ramp up the program’s effectiveness by making it easier to implement and manage so more time can be spent in meaningful conversation and experiences. Programming calendars, chapter-wide announcements and automated updates to mentors have been designed to support a more challenging, engaging and fun experience.
Also notable are the academic reports from fall 2015 which point to the largest increase in GPA performance SigEp has seen in years — a .04 increase from fall 2014 to fall 2015 to a 3.18. For the first time, 70 percent of SigEp chapters are performing above their all-campus average.
Thanks to the efforts of SigEp National Housing (SENH), SigEp brothers are able to enjoy a safe and healthy environment that supports academic excellence and post-collegiate preparedness. AVCs have access to low-rate loans and professional property management services that are freeing up more time to mentor undergraduates. When our facilities operate and look different, our undergraduates are able to sell a different experience and attract a different kind of student.
SENH executed three new loans at Auburn, North Dakota and Florida State, and currently there are five new loans in our pipeline scheduled to originate before the end of the 2017 fiscal year. SENH’s property management program has grown exponentially over the last 18 months. This fall, the staff will manage 27 properties and likely increase enrollment to at least 34 properties by fiscal year-end.
After building a series of quality volunteer orientation and education programs over the past few years, the staff turned its attention to volunteer recruitment. Callie Verderosa was hired as our volunteer engagement manager and charged with supporting our district governors’ efforts to recruit and train an unprecedented number of volunteers for our undergraduate brothers. For the current academic year, we have set ambitious volunteer recruitment goals. Engaged volunteers are critical to advancing our BMP, Residential Learning Community, member safety, and university partnership objectives; and volunteer recruitment will be a top priority for SigEp moving forward. We are committed to furthering the vision of our late Grand President Phillip A. Cox, Indiana ’84, who often said, “Behind every great SigEp chapter is a group of dedicated alumni and volunteers.” As we look to the future, we are investigating technology enhancements that will better connect alumni, AVCs and Headquarters. These improvements would increase the percentage of alumni with updated and accurate contact information, which would open the door to unprecedented levels of communication and opportunities for alumni to reconnect with their brothers while supporting the undergraduate experience.
We believe that member safety is a prerequisite for a valuable SigEp experience and achieving true partnership with our host institutions. So SigEp focused on leading discussions with undergraduates and volunteers about effective risk management and member safety practices that can be applied to the chapter’s everyday activities. At Carlson Leadership Academies, we reached 1,995 chapter leaders and 416 volunteers with these discussions, and, through video education, we reached 3,500 undergraduates and volunteers.
SigEp’s partnership with Alpha Delta Pi continues to lead the way in the fight against sexual assault in the Greek world. Our Live Your Oath Campaign reached 60,341 viewers. The launch of our Member Safety Team in 2016 also allowed SigEp to reach out to 1,866 undergraduates and volunteers on principles important in preventing sexual assault:
- Understanding consent.
- Developing healthy relationships.
- Confidently intervening and stopping improper behavior.
- Creating safe and healthy chapter environments.
We intend to grow the size of our Member Safety Team from 13 to 22 by the end of the 2017 fiscal year.
Total giving to the Educational Foundation was $3,118,185 for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. This is an increase of $207,439 over the previous year.
Unrestricted giving — donations that can be used to reach undergraduates in areas of greatest need — was down $139,965. Much of this decrease is due to generous giving to endowments and other restricted funds such as the Phillip A. Cox Volunteer Institute, Kenneth S. Maddox Summer Development Program, Team Hartman and the BMP App. For the first time this year, undergraduate gifts for the Hoop of Steel Society were restricted to the BMP App endowment.
Estate gifts were also down this fiscal year. Planned giving is an area where SigEp trails our fraternal peers. With the introduction of a new Legacy Society, our advancement staff hopes to offer alumni opportunities to make a transformational impact through their estate. The number of alumni who have joined the Legacy Society in the 2016 calendar year has been remarkable, and the stories they have told about why they are including SigEp in their estate have been absolutely inspiring.
I’m grateful for the increase in the number of alumni who are supporting SigEp through an investment of their time and treasure. I’m excited for our future and ready for our next 115 years to be even brighter.